Wed 07 Nov 2012 19:45 (Attendance: 41,067)
With a small margin for error left in this group stage, one of those special European nights at Stamford Bridge is on order. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton check the stock…
We have reached Matchday Four in the Champions League and this is the European Champions' sixth game in 19 days. Roberto Di Matteo has acknowledged that his team laboured in the closing stages at Swansea and paid the price with a late equaliser in a match they should have won.
While a dramatic and enjoyable victory over our rivals, the Capital One Cup match with Manchester United involved many of Chelsea's key players with the heaviest workload. The Blues manager will have to do without Ashley Cole but may be able to welcome back David Luiz and Juan Mata for this crucial encounter tonight, and John Terry can return to action.
The latter two are among the most influential players at the club again this season. In seven games in all competitions without Terry's leadership the Blues have won four, drawn one and lost two. Stripped of Premier League Player of the Month Mata's creative influence, Chelsea have drawn twice.
Shakhtar have lost three and drawn one of their visits to England, all in the capital.
The Ukrainian double winners held off Spurs but have lost to Fulham in the Europa League and twice in the Champions League to Arsenal, including a 5-1 thrashing in 2010/11. They have won just once - against APOEL - in their last five away trips in this competition.
Tonight's opponents kept up their impressive 100% league record on Saturday by winning 2-0 at home to abject whipping boys Metalurh Zaporizhya. Their season breaks for three months over the winter from early December.
They are runaway leaders domestically, but one should never underestimate the importance of experience and the burden of expectation in the Champions League. Shakhtar have only qualified for the knockout stages once previously, in 2010/11, and foundered in the quarter-finals.
They have also enjoyed an easier workload than Chelsea in recent weeks. They now face four successive away trips on all fronts. The Blues will be aiming to complete a century of European victories since 1958. In the last few seasons, the teams finishing group winners have averaged 12.5 points, the runners-up 10 points.
November can be a cruel month for west Londoners, so we have reason to groan at the sight of the yellow winter ball. Last season November yielded a disappointing two wins in six. In 2010/11 there were three in seven, and three in eight in 2008/9. In 2007/8 and 2009/10, at least, the fireworks were properly lit, and hopefully November 2012 will go off with a bang.
Group E always looked a tough one and it is possible the present top two could remain the same after Matchday Six, with reigning Serie A champs (and current leaders) Juventus missing out.
Although two of their remaining three matches are in Turin, home comforts are not what they were after last weekend. The Old Lady, so impressive at Stamford Bridge, could not quite make it to 50: Juve's 49-game unbeaten run was ended by title rivals Internazionale on Saturday night.
The 1-3 defeat, after Antonio Conte's team had opened the scoring, was their first at the new Juventus Stadium since it opened in September 2011. Chelsea play there in two weeks' time.
Juve's surprising 1-1 result at Nordsjaelland on Matchday Three was their third successive draw in this competition, and they have now failed to win 11 of their last 13 Champions League games. Their final match will be away to Shakhtar while Chelsea host Nordsjaelland.
Oscar's late goal in Donetsk (pictured below) may take on greater or less significance depending on the outcome of tonight's match as a result of the Champions League group stage rules.
In the event of two or more teams tying on the same points at the completion of the group stage, rankings are decided, according to UEFA regulations, by the following complex criteria in descending order:
'a) higher number of points obtained in the group matches played among the teams in question; b) superior goal difference from the group matches played among the teams in question; c) higher number of goals scored in the group matches played among the teams in question; d) higher number of goals scored away from home in the group matches played among the teams in question;
'e) if, after having applied criteria a) to d), two teams still have an equal ranking, criteria a) to d) are reapplied exclusively to the matches between the two teams in question to determine their final rankings.
'If this procedure does not lead to a decision, criteria f) to h) apply; f) superior goal difference from all group matches played; g) higher number of goals scored from all group matches played; h) higher number of coefficient points accumulated by the club in question, as well as its association, over the previous five seasons.'
After defeat in the first leg, only a Chelsea victory tonight would bring those criteria potentially into play. Should Chelsea win 1-0 this evening the Blues would have the edge in the event of a tie with Shakhtar on away goals scored. The Ukrainians scoring more than one goal and avoiding defeat by two clear goals would hand them the advantage.
It was announced this week that Stamford Bridge is to stage the women's Champions League final on 23 May 2013. This will be the first time Chelsea's famous ground has been used as a neutral venue for a UEFA match.
Built in 1905, the stadium has in the past hosted FA Cup finals (1920-22) and semi-finals (1910-78), Charity Shields (1908-70) and England internationals (1909-46). It is arguably the most prestigious non-Chelsea game to be played on the Fulham Road since Arsenal knocked Orient out of the cup there in April 1978. (Orient, lest we forget, had surprisingly beaten the Blues in a previous round.)
Other Group E fixture
Wed 7.45pm - Juventus v FC Nordsjaelland
|Champions League Group E table|
Click on tabs above for more briefing.
Stamford Bridge is ready for the fourth game in the defence of our European crown. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton continue their preview...
A good result is vital to improve Chelsea's chances of winning Group E. It will take a vastly improved showing from Matchday Three to secure it.
In the away group match Shakhtar looked a team that have played together a lot, brimming with the confidence engendered by a long unbeaten run. They were fortunate that Chelsea started both halves without the usual intensity, and conceded early goals on each occasion, but were worthy winners.
With the usual 4-2-3-1 formation, Chelsea started the match with Ramires reverting to a previous role wide upfront on the right. Frank Lampard's calf injury required the no.7 to drop back to centre midfield as Eden Hazard was the replacement.
The usually frugal Blues allowed the hosts to have 17 shots on target and managed 11 of our own - in terms of chances it was not as one-sided as it may have looked, and both exceeded their usual quotas.
Chelsea struggled to nail down the movement of Shakhtar's three attacking midfielders and were perhaps fortunate the opponents were not capable of doing more damage. The team also had Petr Cech to thank for that.
The Blues looked most likely to score once Daniel Sturridge provided urgency and a physical presence. In the final quarter of the match the attacking midfielders began combining with the passing and dribbling we have come to expect.
Oscar scored his third goal of the campaign from a Branislav Ivanovic cut-back with two minutes to go and had that come earlier, the Londoners may well have returned home with a point that often appeared unlikely.
Key to the Ukrainians' success was the relationship between full-back Darijo Srna and midfielder Fernandinho (pictured below right) down the right. They exchanged 25 passes over the 90 minutes - far more than any other pairing - despite Ramires's patrolling of that side.
The rallying cries about must-win matches will not have the focus they did in the campaign last season: Didier Drogba is no longer with us. However, this new Chelsea has shown itself full of resolve and determination. We may well see a new hero (or two) in Blue emerge this evening. Let's hope so.
Juan Mata (hamstring) and David Luiz (ankle) trained on Tuesday evening and will be assessed following the session. England pair Ashley Cole (hamstring) and Frank Lampard (calf) will not play. John Terry is available. Shakhtar report no injuries.
Click on tabs above for more briefing.
WE HAVE HISTORY
Chelsea and Shakhtar had never met before the first leg on 23 October. The match finished 2-1 to the hosts in the Donbass Arena. Alex Teixeira capitalised when the ball took two fortunate breaks in the Blues' box after three minutes.
Eden Hazard was caught in possession within 10 minutes of the restart, allowing Fernandinho to score on a rapid break.
Oscar put the seal on an improved showing by the Londoners in the last 15 minutes, coolly converting from eight yards to put a gloss of respectability on the performance.
Shakhtar coach Mircea Lucescu was in charge of Turkish side Beşiktaş in October 2003 when they earned a surprising 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge (pictured below).
That remains Chelsea's last home defeat in the group stage, with 27 games since.
Chelsea's biggest home win in the Champions League
19/10/2011 - Chelsea 5-0 KRC Genk - Group stage
Shakhtar's biggest away win in the Champions League
28/09/2010 - Braga 0-3 Shakhtar Donetsk - Group stage
23/11/2010 - FK Partizan 0-3 Shakhtar Donetsk - Group stage
Chelsea lost at home in the Champions League: 581
Shakhtar lost in any competition: 350
Arsenal won a trophy: 2,727
Liverpool won the league: 8,222
Visit again at lunchtime for part two of the Briefing.
Chelsea have won six and drawn one of our last seven home games in the Champions League.
The Blues are unbeaten in 27 Champions League group matches (20 wins, seven draws) at Stamford Bridge since our last defeat in October 2003 when Shakhtar head coach Mircea Lucescu guided Besiktas to a 2-0 win.
We have lost only two of our last 34 home Champions League matches (including 24 victories) since 2006.
The Blues have topped our group in seven of our last nine Champions League campaigns. We have never failed to progress to the knockout stage.
All our seven Champions League goals this term have come in the last 15 minutes of either the first or second half.
We have scored in our last 17 Champions League matches since we lost 0-1 to Man Utd in the 2010/11 quarter-final at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea's last ten years in Europe
2002/03 - UEFA Cup - first round
2003/04 - Champions League - semi-final
2004/05 - Champions League - semi-final
2005/06 - Champions League - round of 16
2006/07 - Champions League - semi-final
2007/08 - Champions League - runners-up
2008/09 - Champions League - semi-final
2009/10 - Champions League - round of 16
2010/11 - Champions League - quarter-final
2011/12 - Champions League - winners
|Last six results|
|Oct 6||Norwich (h)||W 4-1|
|Oct 20||Tottenham (a)||W 4-2|
|Oct 23||Shakhtar Donetsk (Champions League a)||L 1-2|
|Oct 28||Manchester United (h)||L 2-3|
|Oct 31||Manchester United (League Cup h)||W 5-4 aet|
|Nov 3||Swansea (a)||D 1-1|
|Chelsea's next three games|
|Wed 31 Oct||Manchester United (LC) home||7.45pm|
|Sat 3 Nov||Swansea City away||3pm|
|Tue 20 Nov||Juventus (Champions League) away||7.45pm|
John Terry needs one goal to reach 50 in all competitions for the Blues.
The Blues are looking for our 100th win in European competition in our 190th match.
SHAKHTAR DONETSK STATS
7 Ukraine league titles, last in 2012
4 Soviet Cups, last in 1983
8 Ukrainian Cups, last in 2012
1 Soviet Super Cup in 1984
4 Ukraine Super Cups, last in 2012
1 UEFA Cup in 2009
Shakhtar as well as Dynamo Kiev are the only two Ukrainian clubs to have won a European trophy.
Shakhtar's Champions League squad is made up of 14 Ukrainians, eight Brazilians, two Croats and one from Romania, Armenia and Czech Republic.
Romanian Mircea Lucescu, Shakhtar's head coach, has won 15 major trophies since taking over in 2004.
This is the fourth time in five seasons Shakhtar have faced an English side. Their most recent visit being a 5-1 reverse at Arsenal in the 2010/11 group stage.
They have lost three and drawn one of their four away games against English sides, all in London.
Saturday's victory against Zaporizhya was Shakhtar's 23rd successive top-flight victory which extended their Ukrainian Premier League record.
Shakhtar's last competitive defeat was against Porto in last season's Champions League group stage. Their last away defeat in domestic and European football was over a year ago at Zenit St Petersburg on 1 November 2011. Since then they have won 20 and drawn one of their 21 away games.
Their record in the Champions League is played 79, won 36, drawn 13, lost 30.
|Shakhtar's away games against English teams in Europe|
|2000/01||Arsenal||L 2-3||Champions League group stage|
|2008/09||Tottenham||D 1-1||UEFA Cup round of 32, second leg|
|2009/10||Fulham||L 1-2||Europa League round of 32, first leg|
|2010/11||Arsenal||L 1-5||Champions League group stage|
|Last ten league seasons|
Ten-year European record
2002/03 - UEFA Cup first round - having transferred from the Champions League third qualifying round
2003/04 - UEFA Cup first round - having transferred from the Champions League third qualifying round
2004/05 - UEFA Cup round of 16 - having transferred from the Champions League group stage
2005/06 - UEFA Cup round of 32 - having transferred from the Champions League third qualifying round
2006/07 - UEFA Cup round of 16 - having transferred from the Champions League group stage
2007/08 - Champions League group stage
2008/09 - UEFA Cup winners - having transferred from the Champions League group stage
2009/10 - Europa League round of 32 - having transferred from the Champions League third qualifying round
2010/11 - Champions League quarter-finals
2011/12 - Champions League group stage
|Champions League results|
|Sep 19||FC Nordsjaelland (h)||W 2-0|
|Oct 2||Juventus (a)||D 1-1|
|Oct 23||Chelsea (h)||W 2-1|
Champions League scorers
Mkhitaryan 2, Teixeira 2, Fernandinho 1.
|Last six domestic results|
|Sep 28||Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (h)||W 2-1|
|Oct 7||Metalist Kharkiv (a)||W 2-0|
|Oct 19||Illychivets Mariupil (h)||W 2-1|
|Oct 27||Tavriya Simferopol (a)||W 1-0|
|Oct 31||Hoverla Uzhgorod (Cup a)||W 4-1|
|Nov 3||Metalurh Zaporizhya (h)||W 2-0|
|Ukraine Premier League top half|
THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Referee Carlos Velasco Carballo, his two assistant referees and two additional assistant referees are all from Spain. He was in charge of the Blues' 2-0 victory at Spartak Moscow in October 2010 and, last season, the 1-3 defeat at Napoli. His only Shakhtar match was a 1-0 win over Serbians Partizan.
There are no suspensions.
Champions League bookings list:
Players receive a one-match suspension for collecting three and five yellow cards
Shakhtar Donetsk (6): Hübschman 2, Ilsinho 1, Kucher 1, Luiz Adriano 1, Srna 1.
Chelsea (3): Cole 1, D Luiz 1, Ramires 1.
A stunning last-gasp header by substitute Victor Moses secured a much-needed 3-2 win which leaves us tied at the top of Group E with our beaten opponents.
Fernando Torres had given us the lead inside the opening five minutes, but only three minutes later the highly-coveted Willian equalised for the visitors when he converted a Fernandinho cross.
Shakhtar, in truth, had been the better team for the majority of the first half, but it was the Blues who went in ahead at the break thanks to a stunning Oscar lob six minutes before half time.
All the hard work, however, was undone two minutes after the restart when Willian scored an almost identical goal to his first one to draw Shakhtar level once more.
As the Blues huffed and puffed with time running out, it looked as though the game was slipping away, but with virtually the last action of the match, Mata swung in a corner from the right, and Moses, one of the smallest players on the pitch, rose highest to head into the top corner and seal a famous win, sending the home supporters delirious.
Drama is seldom in short supply on European nights at the Bridge, and while we will now need to secure another big result away in Juventus in a fortnight's time, our immediate attention turns towards a massive test in the Premier League on Sunday when we welcome Liverpool to west London.
The big news with regards to team selection was that John Terry, available again, started on the bench with David Luiz, who missed the weekend draw at Swansea with an ankle problem, coming back into the side to partner Gary Cahill in the centre of defence. Branislav Ivanovic reverted to a more familiar right-back role, while Cesar Azpilicueta dropped down to the bench. With Ashley Cole unavailable due to a hamstring injury, Ryan Bertrand started his first Champions League game since the final in Munich last May. In the other changes from Saturday, Ramires came in at the expense of Oriol Romeu to play alongside John Mikel Obi in midfield, while goalscorer Moses made way for the returning Juan Mata. Petr Cech once again captained the side in the absence of both Terry and Frank Lampard.
Shakhtar were unchanged from the first match between the sides.
Roberto Di Matteo had spoken in the pre-match press conference about the importance of starting the game well, and the players appeared to have heeded his words when we took the lead inside the opening five minutes.
After rolling the ball out to Yaroslav Rakitskiy, the left-back, under pressure from Torres, played it straight back to the 'keeper, and as he hesitated in clearing, the Spaniard had made up enough ground to charge down his kick and break the deadlock.
It was the perfect start, and the goal appeared to spark Torres into life as almost from the restart he was unfortunate not to double our advantage, effortlessly skipping beyond Rakitskiy before firing at Pyatov.
The lead, however, was to last only three minutes, as with the subsequent attack Shakhtar restored parity.
Fernandinho was allowed to roam unchallenged into the Chelsea penalty area and as his cross from the right fell at the feet of Willian, the Brazilian, so instrumental in Ukraine a fortnight ago, drove his strike past Cech.
The visitors began to take control following the equaliser and almost went in front when Henrik Mkhitaryan fired narrowly wide after pouncing on a Luiz Adriano knock-down, and they were asking more than enough questions to give Di Matteo food for thought, particularly down their right-hand side.
Torres, meanwhile, went close again for the Blues, but rather than pick out the unmarked Eden Hazard he opted to shoot from the tightest of angles and could only screw his strike into the side-netting.
With so much at stake, it was perhaps unsurprising that there was a nervy atmosphere inside Stamford Bridge, and the away side's ability to retain the ball so well merely added to the sense of frustration.
Just after the half-hour mark, Alex Teixeira fizzed a strike inches past Cech's right-hand upright after a flowing move involving both Fernandinho and Luiz Adriano as Shakhtar sensed an opening, while at the other end clear-cut opportunities were proving elusive.
Six minutes before the break, though, we were back in front, albeit against the run of play.
As yet another Shakhtar attack broke down, Mata, who had been a virtual spectator throughout the first half, attempted to pick out the advancing Ivanovic, but as Pyatov raced off his line to head clear, the ball fell kindly to Oscar 35 yards from goal, and the 21-year-old took one touch before crashing his strike straight back over the keeper's head and into an empty net.
It was the youngster's fourth goal in this season's competition thus far, most of which had been of the spectacular variety, and it had come just at the right time.
If the first half had started in the best possible fashion, the second was the complete opposite, as barely two minutes in Shakhtar equalised for the second time on the night.
The ball was worked out to the right-hand side far too easily, and Darijo Srna had plenty of time to pick out Willian who doubled his tally for the evening.
It really was a cheap goal to concede, particularly at such a crucial time, and it allowed Shakhtar to settle comfortably back into their stride.
Moments later our disappointment was almost compounded when Razvan Rat smashed an effort past Cech from distance, only to be denied by the post.
As an attacking unit, we were struggling to get going, with only Eden Hazard looking capable of producing the spark we so desperately needed.
Midway through the second half it looked as though we had restored our lead when Mikel - the most unlikely goalscorer on the pitch - arrived at the far post to head home from a Mata free-kick, but the linesman's flag was raised, a decision which was proved to be the correct one from the subsequent replays.
With the clock ticking down we began to assert ourselves in the final third, giving the Shakhtar defence more to think about.
With 17 minutes left to play Hazard picked up the ball deep inside the opposing half and fed a delightful pass into the path of the advancing Ramires, but as the Brazilian prepared to pull the trigger he was sent crashing inside the box as the home supporters appealed for a penalty.
It looked a simple decision for the Spanish referee, but he waved the shouts away to the utter bewilderment of Di Matteo and his staff in the Chelsea dugout, along with almost 40,000 spectators inside the stadium.
Mikel again went close when he volleyed narrowly wide after a Mata corner had been headed into his path, while soon after Di Matteo made his first substitution of the night, replacing the hardworking Oscar with Victor Moses in a bid to inject some pace in wide areas.
The Blues forced a succession of corners in the final few minutes, realising the importance of securing all three points, but while Mata's deliveries were generally decent, the likes of Cahill and Ivanovic were unable to get the necessary touch.
However, in the third minute of stoppage time, another stunning Champions League night at Stamford Bridge was complete when substitute Moses rose highest in the box to head home from a Mata corner and steal the win at the death.
Chelsea (4-3-3): Cech (c); Ivanovic, Cahill, David Luiz, Bertrand; Oscar (Moses 80), Mikel, Ramires; Mata, Torres (Sturridge 89),
Unused subs: Turnbull, Terry, Azpilicueta, Romeu, Marin.
Scorers Torres 5, Oscar 39, Moses 90+3
Booked David Luiz 89
Shakhtar Donetsk (4-2-3-1): Pyatov; Srna (c), Kucher, Rakitskiy, Rat; Fernandinho, Hubschman; Teixeira (Ilsinho 77), Mkhitaryan, Willian; Luiz Adriano.
Unused subs: Kanibolotskiy, Shevchuk, Chygrynskiy, Stepanenko, Costa, Eduardo.
Scorers Willian 8, 47
Booked Teixeira 57
Referee Carlos Velasco Carballo from Spain